Demo derby to be held on Saturday at the grandstand

The annual East Otter Tail County Fair will kick off on Thursday in Perham. The fair will feature a number of rides, grand stand events and animals through the weekend.

By Stella Strong


Looking for something fun to do this July? Look no further! The East Otter Tail County Fair in Perham starts on Thursday and will be held throughout the weekend. With food that only comes once a year and rides that go higher than any building in town, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone at this event. 

“It’s family friendly, but it’s great for all ages,” Secretary Diane Sazama said.

The Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to the fair is reserved for 4-H livestock check in. Open class entries that include things like art, photography, canning, flowers, quilting and others will be taken from 3-8 p.m. on Tuesday at the main exhibit building.

The fair kicks off on Thursday with various 4-H exhibits including the 4-H beef and goat show, as well as the FFA sheep show. Wristband night starts at 6 p.m. and will conclude at 10 p.m. Rides will still be open after 10 p.m., but tickets must be used after ten. Tickets are valid all four days of the fair.

“The nice thing about our fair is that we only take 1 ticket per a ride.” Diane said. Considering that Minnesota State Fairs can sometimes use up to six tickets per a ride, one ticket per a ride sounds like an insane deal.

Bingo is set to run 7-10 p.m. all four days of the fair at the Lion’s shelter. 

The childrens barn is also open all four days of the fair starting at 10 a.m. They have all sorts of animals from more common things like rabbits and goats to more exotic ones like peacocks. It is exciting for both children and adults and ends up being a highlight of the fair for a lot of people.

On Friday, be sure to stop by the fair office at 11 a.m. to pick up an animal scavenger hunt sheet. The carnival opens at 1 p.m. with plenty of fun family friendly shows. A second wristband session will also begin at one. 

Throughout the fair, the shelter will feature a number of musical acts including the Crop Dusters, Blue English, Eric’s Dance Band, Sherry Marquardt and an Elvis rendition done by Brad Boice.

On Saturday at 6 p.m. the Demo Derby starts at the grandstand. This event always leaves the stands packed with a crowd able to be heard on the other side of the fair. Entry fees cost $10 for ages 13+ and $5 for ages 6-12. Kids five and under get in free. 

One of the newer competitions is the lego competition. Here, imagination can really run wild. Kids can build their own elaborate lego creations that will be judged later that day.

“The Lego contest has really been a big hit.” Sazma said. “It just keeps getting bigger.”

Things start to wind down on Sunday. At 8 a.m., go to the fairgrounds for a pancake feed with a free will offering. All proceeds go to help fund the EOT Fair. At noon, the New York Mills FFA is is hosting a tractor pull. The carnival reopens at one, before the fair permanently closes at six.

“Hopefully people will come out this year. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a great fair,” said Sazma.